Women’s basketball rolls in home finale


The players’ numbers 32+33+35 equaled 100 percent as BYU women’s basketball’s three seniors took the court in their final home game, against Santa Clara on Thursday at the Marriott Center. Behind a strong start, the Cougars sent off their seniors with a solid 84-57 victory.

The three seniors were left on the court at the end of the game. They received countless flowers and plaques recognizing their work at BYU.

“This is one of the hardest nights,” BYU coach Jeff Judkins said. “They’ve been great, they’ve been awesome, they don’t care who gets the credit. I’m really going to miss all of them.”

Senior Dani Peterson ended the game with a double-double, with 13 rebounds and 11 points. Senior Kristen Riley surpassed 1,000 career points during the game (finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds on Thursday), and has 76 blocks, ranking sixth in BYU history. Senior Haley Steed, who had nine points and 11 assists on the night, ranks sixth in the nation for assists, and first in the West Coast Conference.

“We wanted to come out and make a statement,” Riley said. “Not just about senior night but about what we want to accomplish the rest of the season.”

The team played tight defense, securing an early 7-0 lead. BYU’s offense was executed beautifully and Steed was 3-for-3 from her signature spot beyond the arc in the first few minutes of the first half. Solid rebounding efforts on defense and offense giving the Cougars opportunities to put extra points on the board.
“I told the team we have a chance to win the conference,” Judkins said. “There’s very few teams who can say that, but we have to win these next two games. It lets them [the team] know where they stand. I’ve always wanted my team to take the challenge and not be afraid of it. If you’re afraid of failure it’s going to happen, if you go out and try and it doesn’t work out at least you know you gave it your best.”
BYU (24-5, 12-3) had 30 assists compared to 11 for the Broncos (11-17, 4-11). The Cougars shot 46 percent from the field and 42 percent on 3-point attempts.
Sophomore Jennifer Hamson had 14 points and six rebounds, while also shooting 100 percent from the free throw line. Sophomore Stephanie Vermunt came out on fire and shot 4-for-4 from 3-point land.
Up next for the Cougars is a road game against Gonzaga. If BYU beats Gonzaga, it will be tied for the top position in the conference.
“We’ve been talking about how all of our hard work for the last year really boils down to Saturday,” Steed said. “Our goal the whole time has been to win a conference championship and so that’s what the game is to us, to win a conference championship.”
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